April residential, commercial electricity sales help offset industrial decline

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Aug. 7, 2001 – Higher residential and commercial electricity sales in April helped offset a 5% decline in industrial power sales, compared to April a year ago.

The residential sector had sales of 83 billion kw-hr, a 10% increase over April 2000. Retail sales in the commercial sector were up 6%, compared to a year ago, according to the Energy Information Administration’s monthly power report.

“Weather is the key thing moving residential and commercial,” said an EIA spokesman. Total sales of electricity to ultimate consumers in the US amounted to 255 billion kw-hr, a 3% rise over the amount reported in April 2000.

For the year to date, total electricity sales were up 3.9% over the same period a year ago. Residential sales were up 10.4% to 405.3 billion kw-hr in the first 4 months of April 2001, commercial sales were up 5.8% to 334.2 billion kw-hr, while industrial sales were down 4.4% to 34.6 billion kw-hr.

Total revenue from electricity sales jumped 14% to $76.5 billion in the first 4 months of this year, compared to a year ago. Revenue from residential sales rose 13.4% to $28.8 billion, 16.3% to $21.7 billion from the commercial sector, and fell 1.6% to $2.2 billion from the industrial sector.

Residential rates averaged 8.05-/kw-hr in the first four months of 2001, up from an average 7.84-/kw-hr in the same period a year ago. Commercial rates rose to an average 7.56-/kw-hr, up from 6.88-/kw-hr a year ago, while industrial rates declined to 6.18-/kw-hr from 6.32-/kw-hr, the EIA said.

Receipts for gas totaled 142 bcf in March 2001,down from 191 bcf reported in March 2000. The average cost of gas delivered to electric utilities was $5.74 MMbtu, up from $2.93 MMbtu reported in March 2000. The EIA noted the sale and reclassification of electric plants is having a large effect on gas receipt data collected from New England, the mid-Atlantic, and Pacific contiguous census divisions.

Receipts of petroleum totaled 10 million bbl, up nearly 6 million bbbl from the level reported in March 2000. While the sale and reclassification of plants has reduced fuel oil receipts over the past year, the EIA said the increase in petroleum receipts is due partly to utilities switching from natural gas to a less expensive fuel oil as a replacement fuel.

Also, the increase in consumption of fuel oil during December 2000 through February 2001 required some rebuilding of stocks, the agency said. The average delivered cost of fuel oil was $4.20/MMbtu, up from $4.03/MMbtu reported in March 2000.

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